Euro 2012: England playing style criticised by Laurent Blanc

Euro 2012: France v England

  • Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk
  • Date: Monday, 11 June
  • Kick-off: 17:00 BST

Coverage: ITV, BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC One from 19:00 BST and BBC Sport website

France coach Laurent Blanc has criticised England's playing style ahead of the Group D opener in Donetsk.

Roy Hodgson's England team are facing low expectations at Euro 2012 and Blanc expects them to employ conservative tactics against the 2000 champions, who are unbeaten in 21 matches.

Blanc said: "If we play the English way then it will be a 0-0 and we might get a goal from a set-piece.

"We'll play our own game but I hope the side that plays more football wins."

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The fact I played in England for two years means I know the English players' mentality

France coach Laurent Blanc

Former Bordeaux coach Blanc took the national job after France's ill-fated 2010 World Cup campaign.

He believes that his two years in the role give him a significant advantage over England's Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson, 64, took the job full-time last month and has been working with his players for only a few weeks.

Blanc added: "I've done this job for two years and Mr Hodgson knows it a lot less than me.

"It's difficult to put your ideas across to your players. You don't have a lot of time to work with them and he's had far less than me.

"There'll be two very different footballing philosophies on show."

Blanc believes France are no longer a major footballing power despite their fine form going into the tournament.

"The team don't have the same ambitions as Spain or Germany at the start of the Euros," said the France coach.

"People say we're favourites in the group but I don't agree with that. We were in the fourth pot in the draw."

The former Manchester United defender added: "It's an open group. France, England, Ukraine and Sweden can all legitimately believe they can get into the latter stages.

"We are at the same level as the other sides. We hope to get through and justify our status."

France qualified for Euro 2012 as group winners and won all three pre-tournament friendlies.

The mood in the camp going into Euro 2012 is in stark contrast to that of World Cup 2010, when players showed their dissatisfaction with the management of Raymond Domenech by refusing to train.

Blanc added: "We've had some difficult times and we're not going to hide away from them.

"We've been building things little by little, slowly over the last two years, but we qualified - with some difficulty, of course - and we deserve to be here.

"We need to be confident going into these finals. There are some sides who are better than France, but if we can get out of the group stage anything can happen.

Dixon's analysis of France v England

"But we're no longer one of the top sides in European football, and I should remind you of that."

Blanc, 46, believes England will show "spirit and strength" partly because of the influence of his former Manchester United colleague and new England coach Gary Neville.

He said: "Essentially, the fact I played in England for two years means I know the English players' mentality.

"I know what to expect in terms of spirit and strength in the tackles.

"We've watched their last two friendly games [against Norway and Belgium]. We didn't learn they were very committed - we knew that.

"But if they play in the same way they'll drop back, have a bank of four with some quick players, and try to hit us on the break."